Even Christians Struggle with Depression

FitSeries-tagcropYesterday was the last installment in the FIT Series and the topic was emotional well-being. I believe God desires emotional wellness for His followers. Paul refers to God as a God of peace – God of well-being. Emotional heath exists regardless of context or circumstance. In other words, our condition doesn’t determine or dictate our emotional state.

When you survey some societal emotional indicators – it is rather eye opening.  Depressive disorders are on the rise. Have you experienced episodes of depression? Are you depressed?  Try this simple WebMD Risk of Depression Self-Assessment.  According to Depression Perception:

  • Approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a depressive disorder.
  • Depression affects all people regardless of age, geographic location, and demographic or social position.
  • Depressive disorders are appearing earlier in life with the average age of onset 50 years ago being 29 whereas recent statistics indicate it at just 14.5yrs in today’s society.
  • Nearly twice as many women (12.0 percent) as men (6.6 percent) are affected by a depressive disorder each year. These figures translate to 12.4 million women and 6.4 million men in the U.S.
  • A recent study sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Bank found unipolar major depression to be the leading cause of disability in the United States.

The number of suicides in the U.S. is another indicator. According to a recent PBS article, there were more than 38,000 U.S. suicides in 2010 – more than fatal motor accidents. Additionally the article noted, “Most disturbing, that spike among the middle-aged, a 28 percent rise overall, a 40 percent jump among white Americans, and among men in their 50s, suicides increased by more than 48 percent.”  That’s alarming stuff.

There are people around us emotionally struggling just trying to make it through the day. If you struggle to know emotional well-being, would you take a step to wholeness? Make a phone call or stop by to visit with a friend and share your story of struggle. Sometimes just sharing your story refreshes the soul. James encourages us to confess to one another. Allow the wisdom and perspective of a friend to speak truth into your life. Pray together and seek God’s direction. If you don’t experience some sort of break through, I’d suggest another step. Locate a professional therapist to assist you through the struggle. A professionally trained therapist may put you in touch with a medical doctor or psychiatrist to prescribe medication. If that’s the case, please listen to your therapist and medical professional. There’s no shame in taking medication to help balance out chemically. The shame is in denying the need and in one’s refusal to cooperate. There’s no difference between anti-depressants for someone struggling with a depressive disorder and a diabetic utilizing insulin to control sugar. You have permission to seek medical advice and intervention. God gave chemists, researchers, and medical personnel wisdom in the development and application of these chemicals – take advantage of the provision. Sometimes medication is for a lifetime at other times it is just for a season.

Unfortunately, some remain in a state of depression trying to pray their depressive disorder away. God may heal you miraculously, but He often works through the men and women He’s gifted and called to serve. Without professional assistance many will remain captive to the disorder. If that’s you, please seek professional counsel. There are better days ahead – I’m confident of the fact.

10 thoughts on “Even Christians Struggle with Depression

  1. antioch

    I shared my struggle with depression with my “best friend” that he decided I was crazy, even dangerous, and unfit for the ministry. He told me that I didnt need a friend but a doctor. He rejected me and has never reconciled, even though I have recovered from depression. I would have nevet expected this from him. He has a doctors degree in real estate. So I would not share this information with anyone who has not “been there”. Evangelical Christians live in the dark ages when it comes to the body/mind connection.

  2. Janet Thompson

    I had an episode of major clinical depression lasting about 8 months almost 20 years ago. It was a most difficult struggle because I didn’t feel free to share this with my Christian brothers and sisters. I even told my husband that I could relate to someone who wanted to commit suicide, because I felt like I was in the bottom of a dark well with no view of the light at the surface. I did, however, get counseling and she decided, with consultation with my doctor, that mine was a chemical imbalance, and they put me on medication. Within two weeks I felt like the sun came out and wished I hadn’t waited so long. I am on a small maintenance dose and it has made all the difference to me. I thank God I went to a Christian counselor who didn’t blame or condemn me for my condition. I believe it saved my life.

    1. alma

      Hello, I am currently experiencing depression and anxiety is very severe..nothing has worked so far I feel good when i listen to Christian Music or go to church but i don’t even want to get out of my house that much.. I feel lonely and i don’t want to do anything anymore. I try to do what i can so my family doesn’t’ notice but is so hard. I don’t know what else to do and i don’t feel like there’s hope anymore, even though i want to believe that God will heal me one day, I just cant’ anymore.. I’ve tried everything i can think of, God, praying, exercise, eating healthy, chiropractors, doctors, psych meds…so many more things.. I feel like I can’t go on anymore and i don’t know how long will i be able to live like this because i cant’ anymore. I feel stupid, useless, and believe no one needs me. I really believe my family would be better without me, i am a burden to them because of my irritability..Excuse my spelling English is my second language and i still can’t learn English well cause i”m so dumb. I just want to share this feelings cause i don’t have anyone to talk about them. My family dont’ understand or just don’t want to know, anyways why make them hear this boring statements they already have there own things to worry about. I need help, i can’t keep on anymore.. but i don’t know where to seek help anymore, i ‘ve pray so much, take meds, counseling is a waste of time in my experience they just look at the clock and wait for the time to finish..all i was told is to walk, go out w friends..i’ve tried all of those things with no su

      1. Kay

        Hey Alma. I don’t know if you will ever read this but as a believer of Christ Jesus ,I want to tell you that nothing and no one will be able to help you the only one that has the power and the ability to help you with this depression is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. You really need to set some time by yourself with his word the Bible and really seek him you need to pray harder don’t let the enemymake you think that you are worthless have no purpose because there’s a reason why you are on this earth you have a purpose in God. I need you just stopped looking for the answer on the Internet ,in people ,your friends ,your family , your pastor, drugs and whatever you’re trying to use to get rid of your depression.I’ve come to realize that as a Christian we tend to give up so easily and give in to the lies that the enemy puts in our minds you need to transform your mind into his word meaning go read your Bible and find out what God has to say to you. Before you read your Bible ass that God will open your mind and your ears to hear his voice. God bless you and I pray that you will be delivered from this depression.

        1. Kay

          I also forgot to add Scripture but God says in His Word repetitively that He will never leave us or forsake us so he is forever by your side and he will stick closer to you and a brother. God bless!

        2. Ashley

          Kay, I have struggled with clinical depression my entire 43 years of life. I am a Christian. Telling Alma to read Bible MORE and pray HARDER is the type of advice that makes depressed people feel worse. Trust me when I say Ive worked hard to overcome this. The days of my life that I have been closest to God~ worshipping, reading, praying, and hearing from God in glorious, miraculous ways…well, I had days out of the blue where I felt like I couldn’t move or leave the house or care about anything or stop crying or wake up…etc. And there was no reason. So, trying harder is not the answer. And talking to people is never the wrong thing to do. The Bible says confess to each other so you can be healed. I do know one thing~ God loves me and is with me all the time, when Im feeling depressed or when Im feeling great joy. He doesn’t love the “perfect” version of me. I am perfect in Him. His grace is sufficient for me, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I will trust in Him, not to make me “perfect,” as no Christian is, but to help me walk out my purpose in this world to bring Him glory and to help others.

      2. Brad Hoffmann Post author

        Alma, that’s for sharing your thoughts and the challenges you face. I see depression as a both a physical and a spiritual issue. Yes, as a pastor, I’d encourage you to continue attending church, filling your mind with Scriptural promises and good things – stuff you’ll hear through many Christian songs and teaching. At the same time, continue the discussion with a medical professional and therapist. Often chronic depression is the result of a chemical imbalance. It takes time and effort to realized the right med balance. But, perhaps the best word of advice in the trial – work of what you know and not how you feel. Feelings deceive, but truth sets us free. You may feel one way, but yet you know another. Go with what you know and not how you feel. Finally, share your story and your journey with people who will listen and especially your family. We all have our own concerns, but we all need to listen to the stories and challenges of others. Perhaps you can find a set of friends at church to be your encouragement. Don’t go it alone, get out of the house, and spend time in community. You’ll find healing and formation in community.

  3. Brad Hoffmann Post author

    Janet, thank you for sharing your story! There are others who know or will read your story and be greatly encouraged to take that first step – that is often the hardest. There’s no reason to live at the bottom of the well. Antioch, thanks you for sharing also- point well taken on selecting the friend we share our story with.

  4. Jo

    I am struggling with depression and have been since I was baptized in December, I have reaches out and heard stop feeling sorry for yourself, I have heard just pray and I have had some people truly try to help. I have been going to a therapist but that is only I e hour a week. The rest of the week I am alone. The few people I have reached out I think I have overwhelmed. I reach out when I feel so bad but try to do a lot on my own unfortunately I have felt bad so often that I have overwhelmed these people now I am trying to back off but it is so hard being a lone!!

    1. Brad Hoffmann Post author

      Thanks for posting and sharing your story. Depression is tough and it’s evident by what you share that you’re going through many emotions and challenges. Did you ever struggle with depression before December? When was the first time you thought you were depressed?

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